Indian culture and nostalgia on Kuwait’s streets
When I look at some minibuses in Kuwait, I recall my last trip to South Asia, where drivers traditionally decorate their transport vehicles. The connection between South Asian heritage and the colorful paintings and ornaments has a nostalgic feeling and evokes a longing for home.
The ornamental decor mostly consists of brightly-colored fake flowers, animals, stickers, calligraphy and symbols of faith. A driver of a school minibus told Kuwait Times that the decorations are cheery and make passengers happy. Another driver said truck art is part of his culture.
Some drivers add religious symbols representing their beliefs. Maani, a Hindu driver, has placed an idol of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, in his bus. At the same time, he has a small image of the Virgin Mary in the mirror flap. He explained that the sole reason why it’s there is because he’s married to a Christian woman and doesn’t want to upset her!
It’s a habit of all people to carry a piece of their homeland when they migrate. No matter how much we mingle with other societies and get influenced by them, our roots remain where we were born. The bus art reflects deep love not only for their motherland, but also for their vehicles. Every minibus was also neat and tidy, which personally made me ashamed of myself when I compared them with my car. You can guess what I did after completing this story!
Story and photos by Athoob Al-Shuaibi